Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

I usually don't get sick with the common cold, and if I do, a good day of rest usually fixes the problem. Usually. But not this time and I blame the girl who sits next to me in class. It was on Monday, precisely at 11:09am, class was about to start, and she let out this cough. One cough. I thought to myself, that cough could very well make me sick, and I totally jinxed myself. I really didn't think I was going to get sick but the universe made sure it happened. How do I politely tell this girl to never sit next to me again? How do I tell her I am not a fan of her presence? How do I tell a person to stay the f away from me?

I'm also not a big fan of soup. Now, now, I could go with a bowl of ramen, the best bowl of ramen, from Ichiran, but that's on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. And then there's tom kha, which is my favorite soup, coconut based, full of goodness --but then that would require ordering a whole feast of Thai food, including red curry with beef, shrimp pad thai, pineapple rice, and a whole bunch of peanut sauce which wouldn't be very helpful in my recovery process. Where does that leave me? What's that? Just go to the store and buy packaged soup -- ???????? -- no thanks. Most packaged soups are made with over-processed ingredients and oftentimes sold in toxic packaging. Now I'm not saying don't ever buy pre-packaged soup ever again, but when you're in bed, immobile like me, binge-watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch because your sinus infection is preventing you from going to sleep, your immune system is most vulnerable, and shitty foods are not going to help you get any better.

After a long Wednesday of classes, I headed over to Three Stone Hearst to pick up a few jars of bone broth (because chicken broth/stock has the same flaws as packaged soup) and basically drank that for the rest of my wasted days in bed. Fortunately, I woke up this morning able to breath through my nose, had no sneezing episodes, but still felt a little weak and feverish. No worries. The husband and I took a trip to the store and that's when I decided I wanted to use the last jars of bone broth towards something really good. Back when we used to live in the valley, I used to make this really yummy chicken tortilla soup from a recipe by an acquaintance over at Hungry Girl Por Vida some years ago. I remember stewing up a big pot of a somewhat tweaked and spicy version of Cindy's tortilla soup and devouring most of it in one night. Friends would come over to try it because it was that delicious.

>> All ingredients are optional. Adjust it to your liking. Bare in mind, this version is quite spicy. To omit the spice, remove seeds from all peppers, and you may want to use disposable gloves for that.

Yield: 4-6


  • 4 pieces of chicken on bone with skin (ex. 2 thighs 2 drumsticks)
  • 2 ears of corn, unhusked
  • 4 cups bone broth
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 6-8 roma tomatoes
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 jalopeno peppers, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 seranno pepper, chopped
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (and some more of that sauce)
  • 2 dried new mexico chilies, grounded with a spice grinder (I use an old small coffee grinder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • corn tortillas
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • toppings of your choice: avocado, radishes, cilantro, sour cream, queso fresco, green onion, lime, etc.


  1. grill the corn in husks for 15-20 minutes. remove husks and char the corns for a few minutes on each side. set aside to cool.
  2. sear the chicken on all sides in a large pot over medium-high heat. remove and set aside.
  3. using the same pot with the chicken grease, add celery and fresh peppers. sear for a few minutes, reduce heat to low.
  4. add the adobe peppers with sauce, ground cumin and new mexico chilies, cook with the rest of the mixture.
  5. add bone broth, water, mix and turn up the heat to medium high. add the chicken pieces.
  6. while waiting for the broth to somewhat boil, dice the roma tomatoes, then finish them (possibly in a bowl) by smashing the pieces to push out excess juices. add BOTH diced pieces and juices into the pot.
  7. add tortillas and salt, stir.
  8. bring to a boil, then quickly reduce heat. simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken pieces reach an internal temperature of 165°F
  9. cut the corn off the cob and add to soup along with black beans. stir and let sit until ready to serve. I usually let it sit for a few hours to let the flavors comes through, and by this time the chicken can be easily handled, making it possible to remove the meat off the bones.
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